Share & Connect
As the King family struggles to make sense of their mother’s accident and exposed infidelity in the Oscar-winning film ‘The Descendants’, confusion also reigns in the emotions of Matt‘s father-in-law Scott Thorson, portrayed by veteran screen and television star Robert Forster (‘Jackie Brown’, ‘Mulholland Drive’).
A retired military man with a crusty drill sergeant‘s temperament, Scott is already dealing with his wife‘s Alzheimer‘s when he learns that his daughter‘s life is on the line. He channels all his frustration directly into blaming Matt. “Scott regards his son-in-law as a grave disappointment,” explains Forster. “He thinks his daughter was too much for him, she had too much spirit for this guy. Matt‘s got a lot of money but not a lot of drive, so he never rose to Scott‘s expectations of what a serious man should be. Scott‘s commanded men all his life, and Matt doesn‘t pass muster for him.”
On Matt‘s side of the family, things are proceeding no more smoothly, especially when he starts to balk at an agreed-upon deal to sell the family‘s high-worth land to a local developer of golf resorts. This brings him into conflict with his laid-back cousin Hugh, played by two-time Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges. Bridges was drawn to the script for a lot of reasons. “Two of the reasons I wanted to be involved are Alexander Payne and George Clooney,” he remarks. “These are two guys at the top of their game. I thought that would be pretty interesting.”
He was also pulled in by his own passionate connections to Hawaii, a place that is almost a second home to him; he has visited regularly since childhood and attended college at the University of Hawaii. “You can watch life unfold there,” he says of the islands. “Hawaii seems to have retained some of the simplicity of life that is missing elsewhere.” Hugh‘s character reflects back to Matt a way of life he is suddenly questioning. “Hugh is
interesting,” Bridges muses. “Like Matt, he‘s a mixed descendant of missionaries and Hawaiians, but he wants to sell the land they‘ve inherited. He justifies his position by saying that the land is going to be sold to a local businessman and not to someone who‘s going to build a Wal-Mart . . . but he still wants the money.”
Bridges also thinks Hugh believes he‘s looking out for Matt in a time when his cousin might not be thinking straight – even if Matt feels like he‘s finally seeing things clearly for the first time. “I think Hugh, in his heart, truly wants the best for Matt,” Bridges concludes, “but he also does not want him to be a fool, and in his mind, not selling this valuable land is just crazy!”